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Women of Freedom on JMAN.tv - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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About 5000 women are murdered every year throughout the world in what are called ‘honour killings’. In many cases, it is relatives, even the parents, of the victim who perpetrate these horrific acts of violence in reaction to what they consider a slight on their honour. This cutting documentary meets the victims of this brutal tradition, and explores the widespread attitudes used to justify these killings.

“Based on our tradition, the penalty for my crime is death. You sinned – you’re a female who had sex out of wedlock... There’s no room for lenience.” Samaher ran away from home because she was afraid that her parents would kill her. Having sex outside of wedlock spelled a death sentence for her, at the hands of her nearest and dearest. This is not an isolated incident but a common occurrence where she lives in Palestine; “A week earlier, a girl from the village was shot… The week before that a girl was strangled by her father.”

Halaa was only 17 when her father attacked her with a knife. This was his natural response to her breaking her engagement with her fiancé. Luckily, her aunt and sisters protected her, but had they not been there, the situation would have likely been resolved with her murder. “As far as they’re concerned, murder, in the name of Islam, under the pretext of protecting their name in the neighbourhood, the town and society, is legitimate,” she tells us.

Such beliefs are widespread. “Why should he live with a stigma? Why is it his fault? What did he do? Why should his wife disgrace him?” Azmi Zeibak, the film director’s own brother, defends husbands who murder their wives in the name of honour, and he holds a majority consensus. According to a 2014 study conducted in Haifa, Israel, regarding attitudes towards women in Palestinian society, 55% of young people support the murder of women, and 58% think that when women are murdered it’s their own fault. The struggle to disperse these hateful views in a conservative society remains as formidable as ever.

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